May Meeting Plan / Nature Canada Annual Photo Contest

Hey gang,

The May meeting is only two weeks away and I am looking forward to seeing more challenge entries for Awakening and Spiral.  Some great ideas on the Google + page but please be sure to email a properly sized image for inclusion on the web site and in the meeting slide presentation.

Our tutorials this month will be on white balance and a hands-on (bring your camera) on making your first video.

The folks at Nature Canada wrote this week that they will be opening their second annual photo contest on May 19th.  They have promised to send the rules along shortly so I can share them with members.  Look for a post with more information to follow.

Also a final reminder of the open spots in this coming Sunday (may 17) Lightroom workshop.  Email me to book a seat if you want to attend and are not already confirmed.

Changes to the Meeting structure

Hello members!

Well August is done and we are into September.  We have attained incredible growth both in membership and in member participation in our monthly challenges.  In order to keep the meetings on track and on schedule, I am changing the meeting structure effective the September meeting.

Members enjoy the challenge review.  However, the last several months have resulted in reviews going well over an hour and a half and recently over two hours.  Feedback is that this is too long and forces a rush during the training activities.  I don't want meeting attendees burning out.  I've been looking for alternatives and have decided to implement a suggestion from Paul McLean, one of our first members.  

As we post every entry to the website, we will start the review with a slideshow of every submitted image, so members should feel free to continue submitting plenty of shots.  Following that we will focus our conversation on 10-12 images that we believe allow for the greatest level of discussion and learning opportunities around the challenge and that are fine examples of key photographic principles.

We will also start to shuffle the content blocks around a bit, perhaps starting with a training segment, then going on to the review, and then either another training, or Q&A or discussion session.

I know that some folks hate change, and I hope that these changes will not dissuade members from coming to meetings.  Given the feedback I am getting, I think that these changes will be positive, but if they don't work out, then we will try something else.

Thanks for your understanding and support.


Thanks to all who attended our meeting!

Hello all,

On behalf of Bryan and myself, thanks for investing your time to come out to the meeting March 27th.  Feedback has been positive and it's nice to hear that from you as it is not insignificant work making things happen.  I want to congratulate every submitter to the review and the monthly challenge for some truly wonderful work.  Nicely done!

Thanks kindly,

Ross and Bryan

February Challenge

As noted in last night's meeting, the photo challenge theme for February is "Shadow"

We are looking at ways to improve the usability of our Flickr site, so if you have Flickr skills and are willing to help, please contact

Our next meeting is February 28, 2012 at 6pm.  Please register as soon as you know you will be attending to ensure we have enough chairs and tables laid out.

Thanks for the incredible turnout!

Wow!  Bryan and were really impressed with the incredible turnout for our first meeting in our new location.  We'd also like to welcome all the new members who have joined recently and we hope you find membership worth your time.

We saw some really lovely photographs in the photo review and it was I think a very positive conversation.  We'll be working harder to streamline the approach so we see more photos and have them preloaded to ensure we not only get to as many as possible but also have the widest selection of member photographs for review.

Feedback on the two trainings was also very good.  I am glad that people enjoyed the better flash section and the short overview on speed retouching with Lightroom.  Do remember that other tools may offer you similar functionality.  I chose Lightroom because it is the cornerstone of my workflow, not to suggest that everyone standardize on it.

Thanks again, and please let us know what other topics you would like to see and learn about.

It's One Week...

With apologies to BNL, it's one week to our first meeting of 2012 to be held at our NEW meeting site at the Newmarket Community Centre.  Meeting starts at six pm and goes to nine pm.  So as a reminder since it has been SO LONG since we've seen each other...

1.  Please register if you have not already.  We really need a seat count, not that we will run out of space but to be sure we have enough chairs and tables.

2.  Bring your camera and be prepared to be in at least ONE photograph.  We will be taking a group photo and we would like all members to have a camera handy.  You may also get a chance to do some shots in one of the trainings.

3.  If you have not yet uploaded your challenge entries to Flickr for the December (Magic) and the January (New) photo challenges, please do so.  We have received lots of great entries and the Group Pool is really growing nicely.  Bryan will be figuring out how to subdivide the submissions by album (won't you Bryan) to make going through the challenge submissions easier.  Please read the post on submission guidelines for information on titling etc.

4.  We will start our meeting as always with the Photo Review and Bryan will lead this.  We will be allocating one hour for this section, so please let us know which photo you would like to discuss if you have (Hooray!) uploaded multiples.

5.  Our second session will be called Better Flash Photos of People.  I will be leading that session and we will share best and worst practices for flash photos of people using a variety of solutions for hot shoe flash.  We will do a studio flash session at a later date, but this one will benefit (I hope) everyone.  Bryan will be the talent scout for this session and will be selecting volunteer models for each shot sequence.  The plan is to tether the camera live to Lightroom and project the images on the wall/screen as they are shot so we can discuss the lighting effects and attributes.  We will do model releases to protect the rights of all of our volunteers.  Members will be allotted a short period of time to make their own photographs in each sequence, so long as this is ok with the volunteer model.

6.  In our third session, I will be taking you through what I call Ross' Speedy Portrait Photo Touchup Workflow using Lightroom 3.6,  We'll use the tools in Lightroom to very quickly retouch some of the photos we shoot in section one.  It's going to be fun and empowering.  If you don't use Lightroom, the concepts will be consistent in other tools like Adobe Camera Raw.  You'll also see how using a grey card will dramatically simplify your colour control work.

7.  We will close with our Q&A, and recommended media section.  Please send me an email at with any recommendations you have for books, movies, DVDs etc.

Members with email addresses will also receive this post as an email.


Bring your camera to the January meeting

In order to get a better banner for the website, I want to make an image of the members that come out to the January meeting, and as we are a camera club, you should be holding a camera when I take the image.  Sounds fair right? There is no obligation for attendees to appear in the photograph if you don't wish to.  But I hope you will.   Ross

New meeting location confirmed and locked in!!!

An enormous round of applause to Henry's Cameras who have graciously provided us space to meet since our inception.  Our club has grown, even faster than Bryan or I had initially hoped and we are very happy to announce that we have a new meeting location for 2012.

We will be meeting at the refurbished Newmarket Community Centre at 200 Doug Duncan Drive in Newmarket on the fourth Tuesday of each month beginning in January 2012.  Meetings are on the "What's Coming Up" page and pre-registration is requested as always, not because we will run out of slots but to ensure we lay out enough seats in advance.  A map is included in this post.  We will be using either of Hall #2 or Hall #4 depending on the month, but the proper hall is already indicated on the registration page so no worries there.

Meeting times will remain 6pm to 9pm and we anticipate an amazing year of your photos, education, special topics and guests.

I specifically want to thank Newmarket Councillor Tom Hempen ( for his assistance in making this happen and also Kristi Carlin and Gail Tarrant-Boddy in the Newmarket Recreation and Culture Department for all their support and professionalism.

If I don't see you before then, I wish you all the best of the season, however you spend it.


November Meeting Update, December and January challenges, other news

Allow me to thank every member who contributed images to the November challenge of "close".  Beautiful work, inspiring and innovative, a real treat.  It's wonderful how far we've come since our launch last summer.

New Meeting Location in process...

I am very close to completion of the contract that will confirm our new location at the refinished Newmarket Community Center, which will also mean a shift to the 4th Tuesday of each month from 6pm to 9pm.  More to come on this subject.  Special thanks to Newmarket councillor Tom Hempen of Hempen Jewellers who got the whole process unstuck for us.

Paper and Printing

Special thanks to Paul Dats of Inkpress Paper who came up from New York to speak with the members on the surprisingly fascinating world of paper and inkjet printing.  Paul was kind enough to leave a print sample kit with Bryan for the store and provided attendees with a trial pack of their incredible Metallic Satin paper.  Look for polls to come that will help us determine if we can run with one of Paul's suggestions.  I spoke with Paul's son Zach today and he gave me information on ICC drivers I had not been able to find so I must say that this company is incredibly responsive.

Standardized Information on Your Challenge Photos

We got a great suggestion from one of our members at the meeting and we liked it so much we started using the ideas at the meeting right then and there.  We don't think it's much to ask of you and it really drew out some of the conversation.  Thanks a ton to Rhonda for the idea!

1.  Please add your core info to the title of the photo you upload, such as camera, lens, ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

2.  In the description field of the photo page, tell us the following;

a) Did you achieve the goal you set for yourself in making the photograph?  What worked great and what would you like to change?

b) How many shots did you take in order to get the image you wanted?

c) Does the photo portray the feeling you hoped to achieve?

Here's an example;

December Photo Challenge

Even though we are not having a meeting in December, there is still a photo challenge to participate in for December.  The theme to work with is "Magic".  Please upload your photos to the Flickr group by the end of December.

January Photo Challenge

We're also setting the challenge for January, so you will have lots to work on until we meet again.  The January theme is "New", so please have your photos uploaded in time for the next meeting, which at time of this post is still in flux as to the date.

Big Prints

While Paul was setting up there was a good discussion on potential services to do really big prints that does not involve crossing an international border.  A number of suggestions were made by members, and while not exhaustive, here are some places to check out;

Ice Photo

Toronto Image Works

44 Wide

Reminder - Club Meeting October 18th

Hey gang!

A quick reminder about this month's meeting happening on the 18th beginning at 6pm.  We are surprisingly and happily over capacity in our meeting room so whether you are attending ( and have successfully pre-registered ) or not, and you know of potential other locations where we can hold meetings without incurring costs to the club, now would be a really great time to tell us.

The challenge this month is "decay" so please upload your entries to the club Flickr group.  We won't have time to be loading off of memory cards.

In addition to our photo review, we will have our news update, the coming photo challenge, an exciting TV announcement, our Q&A section, we will have our special section on colour profiling of displays and printers as well as getting proper colour balance when capturing images.

See you soon.  If you have location suggestions for future meetings, please email me at


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